Sherry & John Petersik (pictured with their daughter Clara and their dog, Hamburger) are the couple behind the popular DIY blog Young House Love which chronicles their efforts in channelling enthusiasm and energy into home improvement. The Petersiks started blogging in September 2007 when they decided to share the DIY remodel of their kitchen in Richmond, Virginia. They’ve since moved to a new home and are tackling new projects with surprising—and inspiring!— verocity. We asked them to share some behind the scenes insight into their blog:
Young House Love is definitely a Home Improvement/DIY blog — it seems that you are constantly in the middle of projects. How do you stay inspired to blog full time?
We definitely feed off of the energy of our readers and the shelter blogging community as a whole. Anytime we hit a lull, we can just browse our comments and immediately be reminded that there are people out there cheering us on and eagerly waiting to see what we do next. And if we’re ever feeling uninspired or stuck, there are a whole slew of blogs out there to shake us out of it. Other DIYers are sharing amazingly creative things everyday — and thank goodness for sites like Pinterest that make it easy to organize inspiration into folders like “Stuff to DIY!”
How would you describe the Young House Love style and how has it changed?
It has definitely been evolving. We moved into our current house nine months ago and are using it as an opportunity to stretch ourselves. We still love crisp, modern lines and natural textures, but we’re learning to embrace more color and eclecticism in our style. We used to be into more of the tone-on-tone, beachy thing in our first house, but now we’re bringing in more deep, saturated tones and bolder fabrics. I guess you could say we’re taking more risks. And they’re totally worth it.
What home improvement project has had the most impact on your life?
Our big kitchen renovation in our first house. Not only was it the most major project that we’ve lived through (in duration, cost, and the overall transformation to our home), it was also the catalyst for starting our blog. So not only did we get a new kitchen out of it, we ended up with new careers.
As long as we’ve been doing this, it’s still hard to predict how some posts will be received. As much as everyone loves a good before & after post, some of our most popular posts are actually the ones not related to design. We think as much as our readers are decor obsessed, sometimes it’s easiest to connect on a personal level — so posts about our daughter Clara’s birth or Sherry’s adventures in breastfeeding (betcha didn’t see that one coming) had a surprisingly high response.
On the lame end of things, in our earlier days we tried to do weekly posts about who would win one of those TV design competitions and even offered up a giveaway to one random reader who accurately guessed the winner. We figured that we love reality TV, why not talk about it on our blog? Maybe it was just the wrong time or the wrong place, but we only had like seven people enter to pool. It was pitiful. But also kind of hilarious. We just have to laugh, and remember that not all of the 2,000+ posts that we write will be favorites.
One of the exciting things about blogging is getting reader feedback in the form of comments and email — do you have a favorite example of some of the feedback you receive?
We love to chat. And we’re fortunate enough to have a very comment-happy readership. Getting immediate feedback and knowing people are out there listening makes blogging that much more exciting. Better yet, there are lots of smarter-than-us people out there! We love it when a comment can help us finally get “unstuck” or suggest a solution that we might not have thought of on our own. Recently we were led to a perfect shoe storage solution for our laundry room thanks to a reader comment. We even gave her a public thank you in our blog post about it!
What are your favorite sources of inspiration?
Oh man, there are too many to list. We read tons of blogs, and some of our favorites for inspiration are Making It Lovely, Little Green Notebook, How About Orange, Bower Power, Design*Sponge, Apartment Therapy, and Decor8 — just to name a few. And we probably spend ten hours a week trolling Pinterest for ideas and eye candy. But we’re also very old school in our inspiration sources. We love magazines and catalogs. There’s something about tearing out a page and circling a brilliant idea. So you’ll find stacks of House Beautifuls and old Domino & Cottage Living stacks around our house. And we’re known to stockpile Ikea, West Elm, and Pottery Barn catalogs too. You guys know how to make a room look lived in, which is fun to analyze.
What project have you wanted to do but continue to put off?
We’re dying to dive into remodeling our current kitchen (be gone ugly wood cabinets!) but logistics and indecision keep getting in the way of us getting very far. But we’ll get there. We just need to pull some permits to know down a load-bearing wall. Haha. A true dream project is to take on some sort of major structural transformation. We’re not sure this is the house to do it in, but we’d love to loft a ceiling, alter a roof line, or even bust down a wall and replace it with floor to ceiling doors to create an indoor/outdoor lounge. Someday when we buy some sad little dilapidated house on the beach maybe…
You can see daily updates from John & Sherry on Young House Love
Images: Young House Love